For the first time since the Legislature adjourned in mid-March, the state Senate will convene on Monday to vote on three nominees to the state ethics commission.

The 35-member Senate, which adjourned March 17 with the House of Representatives during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, will meet in the 151-seat House chamber, where there is sufficient space for state-mandated social distancing.

The long-awaited confirmation votes could finally fill vacancies on the state’s five-member Commission on Governmental Ethics and Campaign Practices, the enforcement body for Maine’s campaign finance laws.

The panel has been functioning with just three members, two Democrats and one Republican, for over a year now. One of the three, Richard Nass, has been serving a voluntary extension, but plans to leave.

Gov. Janet Mills nominated two of the three members in February, but the Legislature adjourned before the Senate could take up the confirmation votes. The third, to fill one of two Republican seats, was nominated by the Legislature’s GOP minority caucus. While the full Legislature is not returning, the Senate is allowed to meet independently for confirmation votes under the Legislature’s joint rules.

The commission holds hearings and takes enforcement action, including levying fines, for violations of the state’s campaign finance laws by candidates or political action committees. It also oversees state laws and regulations governing lobbyists.


The Senate will need just 18 members to vote on the nominees, and confirmation requires approval by two-thirds of those voting, according to a news release issued by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, on Tuesday.

The nominees for the ethics panel include:

William Schneider, a Durham Republican, Army veteran, West Point graduate and former Maine attorney general, to fill a Republican seat vacated by Bradford Pattershall of Freeport, who stepped down in January to run for a state Senate seat;

Dennis Marble, a town councilor from Hampden, to fill a long-vacant independent seat. Marble is a Colby College graduate and holds a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Maine;

David Hastings, a Republican attorney and former state senator from Fryeburg. Hastings is a Bowdoin College graduate and holds a law degree from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.

The Senate is also expected to take confirmation votes on three appointments to the state’s Gambling Control Board and vote to confirm the appointment of David J. Mitchell of Calais to the position of state district court judge.

The Gambling Control Board nominees include: Andrew Conant of Hancock, Steven J. Silver of South Portland and Charmaine Brown of Monmouth.

The Senate is scheduled to start work at 10 a.m.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.